Sitting Volleyball Grand Prix II - round up
24th November 2012
(Photograph courtesy of David Marks)
The Grand Prix Series reconvened for the 2nd Grand Prix of the season at Ashcombe Volleyball Centre in Dorking on Sunday 25th November.
The weekend played to what was one of the best Grand Prix’s the Series has seen since it inception. There were close battles in both Tiers with nine of the twenty matches going the distance – showing just how competitive the event is.
Tier 1 welcomed the newly promoted Loughborough Lions to the top Tier for the 1st time. Loughborough Lion’s knew they were in for a difficult time in Tier 1 which proved true when East London Lynx breezed past them in the 1st match of the day. However as the day progressed Loughborough Lions looked to bounce back from this initial disappointment whilst East London Lynx once again lead the way enjoying a 100% record.
East London Lynx closest rivals in previous Grand Prix’s, Ashcombe Surrey Gators could only field an under strength team for their home Grand Prix. Battleback, Lincoln Imps and Loughborough Lions all battled well with Ashcombe Surrey Gators but the home side managed to scrap through unscathed with 2-1 victories against their closest rivals.
In the end it came down to a three team battle to see who would remain in Tier 1. Loughborough Lions recorded a very close 2-1 victory against Lincoln Imps which seemed to suggest that they would be safe from relegation at this Grand Prix. However, both Battleback and Lincoln Imps knew that a victory would put them back level with Loughborough Lions. In the penultimate round of matches Battleback dramatically scrapped through to beat Loughborough Lions by two points in the third set. This result meant it was still all to play for.
In the final round of matches Lincoln Imps and Battleback exchanged points early on, but it was Lincoln Imps who had the edge and took the set 25-20. In the second set Battleback came out fighting, and restricted Lincoln Imps to just 14 points. At one set all the competition was still wide open, but it was Battleback who carried on their momentum to claim the deciding set 15-12 forcing Lincoln Imps into relegation and Tier 2 in the next Grand Prix.
The Tier 2 competition was also a hotly contested affair with all five teams keen to earn promotion.
Essex Pirates were the top seeds coming into matches following their relegation from Tier 1 in the last Grand Prix. HoweverPortsmouthwho had just missed out on promotion at the last Grand Prix also proved strong contenders emerging from the first three rounds of matches unbeaten.
In the last round of matchesPortsmouthand Essex Pirates met in the promotion decider. Essextook the opener 25-16 and looked comfortable. In the second,Portsmouthtook the early lead and never looked back to take the equalizer. In the deciding set Portsmouth got out to an early lead, then Essex pegged them back and took a small lead before Portsmouth found momentum and pushed on to claim the victory and will be playing Tier 1 Sitting Volleyball at the next Grand Prix.
In the remaining matches in Tier 2, Sainsbury’s 6 earned hard fought victories over both Kent Wyverns and wild card entry Tonbridge. While in the final match of Tier 2 Kent Wyverns went up against wild card entry and close neighbors Tonbridge, although the match was not the closest of the day, it was epitomized by the good nature and sportsmanship shown on court. All of Tier 2, and particularly the newer Teams to the competition demonstrated just what fun sitting volleyball can be.
Sanjib Sahota, Volleyball England Events and Competitions Manager, commented, “It was great to have a number of new faces playing and volunteering at the Grand Prix, it demonstrated legacy from the Paralympics which is great for Sitting Volleyball and it is something the Grand Prix can look to build upon. The new players will hopefully be inspired by the experience they have gained here today. I would like to thank the volunteers who really do make events like this better, their hard work and dedication is vital to the Grand Prix.”